The Art of Setting Price – Part 3

In part 2 of this series, we talked about finalizing the prices you will charge based on the data you’d collected,  and how to communicate those prices to your customers.   There are some customers who will accept the prices you give them without an issue, thinking they’re fair,  there will be some customers who think they’re getting a bargain,  and there will be some who will always want to argue the price or who will press for something extra.  How you deal with the latter group may be the difference between a business that makes a profit and one that soon sinks out of sight.

So,  how do you deal with those people who want to argue or negotiate price?  One way is through education.   A lot of people don’t know what goes into making a shirt or a transfer or a hat.  Show them the process.  Show them the machines you use to do the work.  Talk about the supplies you buy,  the webinars you watch and the seminars you’ve paid to attend.   Let your customers know that you’ve invested a lot of time and effort into being good at what you do.   People are always more comfortable about and more willing to compensate experts for their time and expertise.

Another technique is to try to get to the “why” of their objection to your price.  Are they operating on a budget that may be unrealistic?  Do they not understand what goes into making the goods they want to buy?  Did they find someone down the street that offered to do it for cheaper?   If you can find out why they’re objecting you can address the issue and possibly change their minds.   Or, perhaps,  find out that it isn’t worth changing their mind and the job in question is one that should go to the cheaper guy down the street.   At least if you have all the details,  you can make an informed decision.

“The guy down the street will do it cheaper” tactic (at times it might be the “guy online”, but you get the idea) is often a common method of pursuing a lower price.  When this is used on you,  probably the first question to ask is “why didn’t you go with the guy down the street then?”,  in a non-confrontational way.  Usually,  if a customer is coming to you after having been quoted a lower price elsewhere they either have some reservations about the other shop,  or they’re hoping they can spin you a tale that will make you lower your price.   Getting the details will usually tell you which option it is and point you to the route that may get you the price you want to charge.

Another thing that decoration shops may often encounter is the person or group who wants a print job to be donated,  or who wants to pay for the job in “exposure”.  There are times when jobs of this sort can be beneficial,  but make sure to examine each job of this type carefully before you say yes.  Who will be seeing the work you’re doing,  and is this your customer base?  How many people will be exposed to your work?  What would be the cost of the work if it were paid for, and how does the value of what ever is being offered instead of money measure up?  Will this job generate goodwill among people who could potentially be customers or who could direct customers to you later?  Not all barter or “exposure” jobs are necessarily bad,  but it always pays to do the analysis and be very clear on what you can expect to get before you agree to any such deal.

Finally,  don’t forget your secret weapon when it comes to standing firm in price negotiations,  the absolute rock bottom price you calculated earlier.  If you have that price calculated for every product,  then you know how much room you have to negotiate,  and the floor beyond which you cannot go.

 

The Art of Setting Price – Part 2

In the first part of this series,  we talked about how to gather the data you need to determine what price you should charge.  In the second part we’ll talk about how to finalize your pricing and how to communicate that pricing to your customers.  Although the data collection process, as detailed in part one,  can take time,  it’s actually probably the easier part of setting price.   Now comes the hard part,  setting your prices and sticking to them.

Once you’ve crunched the numbers on what you need to make and assigned tentative prices for your products,  you can compare those with your market research data.  Sometimes you’ll find that you can charge more than you thought you could and still be competitive.   Other times you’ll find that the prices may need to be adjusted downward slightly.  The hope is that the highs and the lows will balance.

After the final adjustments are done,  do one more set of calculations.  There are two parts to this final bout of arithmetic.  One part is to figure out if you can afford to and want to do quantity discounts and what those discounts will be.  This set of calculations should also include what your minimum order quantity will be.  For some people,  it’s the minimum number of a product they need to make their minimum profit requirement.   Other people may have very low minimums to try and differentiate themselves. Some shops will have set minimums and quantity discounts that are stated prominently in their pricing literature.   Others may not advertise these minimums and discounts,  but every shop should know what they are. The time to make pricing decisions is not when someone is standing in front of you asking.  Those decisions should be made when there’s no pressure and you can keep your income goals clearly in front of you.

The second set of calculations to be done deals with your absolute lowest price.  This is the rock bottom minimum you can charge and still make at least a small amount of profit.  The hope is you will always be able to charge more than this number,  but you should always know what your lowest price is and stick to it.  Again, the time to make this decision is not when a potential customer is arguing with you,  or when someone offers a huge job that is terribly tempting.  Know your lowest price before you get into these situations,  and make sure you don’t go below that price,  no matter what the incentive.

Now that you’ve done this last set of calculations,  you should have a final price for each product you offer,  along with quantity discounts,  if you intend to offer those,  and a rock bottom minimum price below which you will not go.  All this information now needs to be communicated to your customers.  If you’re selling online, pricing information can be communicated in each product listing.   If you’re running a brick and mortar shop,  printed pricing can be offered with order forms.   As a general rule,  it’s a good idea not to make any mention of your rock bottom minimums in the pricing you release to the public.   After all,  it’s never a good sales tactic to let your customer know the minimum payment you’re prepared to accept.

Your pricing is now set, and you’re on to the really difficult part,  holding firm on those prices.  We’ll discuss that in part 3. 

The Art of Setting Price – Part 1

Setting prices on your work is hard,  particularly if it’s creative work, anyone who has ever had to price something out knows that.  It’s tough to figure out what’s fair,  and what’s necessary,  and what’s going to make the product sell.  Sometimes it’s seems like it would be easier to allow the customer to tell you what they want to pay,  but that method can often lead to a nice home in a box under a bridge.  Often people set prices lower than they should because they think their work is “only a hobby” or “I couldn’t possibly charge that much!”.  There are a ton of reasons why setting prices is complicated,  and sometimes frustrating and occasionally scary.   There are also some things you can do to make the whole process a little bit easier.

The first thing you need to do is the math,  which isn’t always fun,  but is a necessary first step.  What you’re figuring out is how much you need to make, so there are lots of numbers to gather and compute.  Take into account the following:

  • What do you need to live – this means what do you need for food, shelter, clothing, transportation,  various insurances like auto and health.  How much do you want to have in the bank to cover emergencies? In other words,  what sort of wage do you need to pay yourself in order to live with at least a basic level of comfort and security?
  • What do you need to keep your business running – What’s the cost of your rent or mortgage? What about electricity and heat?  What will you need to pay for business insurance? How much is marketing and sales going to cost you? If you have employees,  they show up here too,  including things like their health insurance. Basically,  what do you need to make your business go?
  • What supplies do you need and how much – How often do you order supplies? What percentage do you keep on hand for unexpected orders and overage or mistakes?  How far out is your production calendar booked,  and what supplies in what amounts are you forecasted to need? Do you have terms?  Do you charge orders to a credit card?  When do your bills come due?

Once you’ve done your calculations break the number down in whatever way you like.   You could come up with a monthly figure,  a weekly figure,  a daily figure or an hourly figure.  What you’re looking for is some number and some period that can be a benchmark for how much your business needs to bring in.

Now that you have a number,  the next thing to do is divide that number by all the products you offer.   Obviously,  different products will have different price points,  and some products will account for more of your revenue than others.   The goal is to put a tentative price on each product you offer,  based on the percentage each product will contribute to the total revenue you need to make.

Once each product has a tentative price,  the next thing to do is the research.  This is where you get online,  talk to friendly competitors,  ask people in Facebook groups or on forums,  and generally gather as much information as you can on pricing in the product categories you’ll be offering.  Obviously, this research should be tailored to your market.   If you have a brick and mortar store and you’ll be selling in one city,  concentrate on pricing there.   If you’ll be selling only online,  look at who your competitors are in that space.   It isn’t enough to gather numbers,  those numbers have to be specific to the products you want to sell and the markets you’ll be selling in.   Be sure to compare apples to apples.

The goal of the research is to gather data on at what prices people in the same sort of business as you are selling the same or similar products.  Again,  it’s necessary to make sure the information you’re gathering is covering the same market and the same products as what you’ll be offering.  It’s no good doing price research on Maserati when you’re actually selling a Pinto.  Be as accurate as possible,  as this research will play a big part in setting the final price you charge.

This is part one of our series on setting pricing.  In part two,  we’ll discuss what happens after the data gathering process.

Trendy Thursday: How to Keep Up With Trends

If you’re running a business,  you’re busy,  that’s a given.  There are probably a lot of hats on your head and trying to add one more may seem impossible,  but it’s necessary.   Anyone doing garment decoration or really decoration of anything,  be it mugsblankets or patches,  needs to be aware of what’s trendy.  After all,  you don’t want to be offering items decorated with camels when everyone has decided their new love is llamas.

Luckily,  keeping up with the latest trends doesn’t have to be difficult or particularly time consuming.   Here are a few ways to keep on trend without spending a ton of time.

Use Social Media –  Follow your competitors.  Follow the feeds for the companies that make or sell equipment and supplies for your decoration discipline.  If you create garments or hats,  follow fashion blogs or sites that cover trends in the items you decorate.  Social media can be a great tool for collecting a lot of useful information in one place.

Talk to People – If you have employees,  particularly if they’re in a variety of age groups,  talk to them about what they like/notice/have seen people wearing. If you have kids, or know people who have kids,  talk to the kids about what’s hot in their world right now. Definitely talk to your customers,  as they can be your best source of industry or interest specific trend information.  Create a e-mail box or a billboard where people can post interesting articles and information they’ve found.

Go to Trade Shows – Yes,  a trade show can be a significant investment in time and money,  but it’s also a place where you can kill a variety of birds with one stone.   You can view the newest equipment.   You can visit multiple suppliers and see what new supplies are available.   Seeing what new things are being offered gives you some advance notice of what upcoming trends might be.  Trade shows are also a great place to learn,  with seminars that teach a variety of decoration techniques.  Trade shows offer a number of ways to gather information on trends in one place with one visit, so they’re well worth the time and effort.

Subscribe to Magazines – Whether they’re trade journals or something more general interest,  magazines can be a great tool for staying current on trends.   Many trade journals can be received in digital format and some are free to those who work in the industry.   Subscription prices for digital formats of general interest magazines are also available.   As a bonus,  many magazines will have electronic newsletter subscriptions available.  In these newsletters they spotlight articles they think are important,  which may also be a way to spot emerging trends.

Go Shopping – Maybe your shopping trip is to an actual store,  or maybe you shop online,  but spend a little time each week visiting stores to see what they’re offering.  This is particularly relevant for garment decorators,  but it really has benefit for any kind of decorator.   Doing a little shopping (and it can be of the window variety, where you don’t spend money) helps you stay current on what’s on the way in and what’s on the way out.

The main thing to remember is just to keep your eyes and ears open.   Anything could be the piece of information you need to clue you in to the next big trend.  Stay alert and stay interested, and your business well be poised to ride the next big wave when it arrives.

There’s No Substitute for Stabilizer

I’ve seen the question so many times I just mostly make a resigned sad face when I see it now,  but it still bothers me.   The question usually starts with the words “Can I..” and then goes on to ask whether it’s acceptable to use freezer paper or printer paper or plastic grocery bags as stabilizer for embroidery.  I get the idea behind the inquiry – stabilizer can be expensive,  or at least more expensive than a roll of freezer paper.  Things like printer paper or plastic grocery bags are also usually at hand and don’t need to be purchased specially.  I also suppose,  to some people,  using a common household item might be less intimidating.  There are understandable reasons why people might pursue the option of using something other than the item specifically designed for the purpose,  but there are also several reasons why that’s not usually a good idea.

Before I go into the reasons why we think using things like freezer paper is not the ideal option,  I do want to address the one exception,  using freezer paper for applique.   When cutting patterns for applique,  freezer paper is an option for stabilizing the fabric while you cut out the shapes.   It’s also a viable option for fusing to the back of a fabric you are intending to draw or paint on,  as raw fabric tends to wrinkle.  Keep in mind,  both these activities are embroidery adjacent,  not actually embroidery,  so I still stand by that statement that freezer paper is not generally a great option when it comes to stabilizing embroidery.  Now let’s discuss the reasons why we think this is so.

Reason 1:  Many stabilizers are designed specifically for machine embroidery – I’m sure there are stabilizers out there that started life as pocket lining or something,  but there are also several classes of stabilizers that are intended specifically to be used with machine embroidery.   This category includes poly meshfusible,  and adhesive backing.  Something that is designed specifically for the requirements of the job at hand will most likely work better than something used randomly.

Reason 2:  An embroidery stabilizer can help improve the look of embroidery – Stabilizers are sometimes designed with a specific weight or type of fabric in mind.  The proper marriage of backing or topping,  fabric,  thread and digitized design will create the most professional look and the best outcome.  Using a stabilizer designed for the fabric you want to embroider and the type of look you want to create will give you a much better chance of a successful finished product.

Reason 3:  An embroidery stabilizer can speed up production –  Designs tend to sew out better when they’re stabilized properly.  There’s less puckering,  fewer thread breaks and definitely a cleaner and more professional looking finished product.  Removing stabilizer more quickly with a tearaway option or presenting a tidier and more professional finished look with a washaway option are also benefits to using a stabilizer designed for embroidery.

Reason 4: The right tool for the right job – Freezer paper is designed to protect food from freezer burn.   Plastic grocery bags are designed for carrying your produce and pasta home from the store.   Embroidery stabilizer is designed to lend stability to embroidered designs,  to improve stitch-outs and to help provide a professional finished appearance.  Using products as they were designed will generally bring about the most successful outcome.

In a nutshell,  those are the reasons we think embroidery should be stabilized with machine embroidery backings and toppings,  but we’d love to get your take on this topic.   Have you ever stabilized your embroidery with something other than standard stabilizer?   What was the result?  We’d love to know what you think.

Marketing Monday: 4 Lessons From a Month of Blog Posts

Back at the beginning of July,  I issued a challenge to myself.  I wanted to see if regular updates on our blogs,  Threaducate and SubliStuff,  made a difference in our readership.   So I decided to write a blog post for one or the other of the blogs each of the five days of our work week,  for the entire month of July.  The goal was to see if this made a difference in the attention people paid to the blogs,  in the readership of older posts,  and simply to see if I could fit daily blogging into a schedule that always seemed to be packed with things to do.   I won’t lie,  the goal I’d set for myself was challenging,  but I learned a lot as I worked to meet it.   Here are some of the most important things I learned.

Ideas come from everywhere – One of my main worries was coming up with ideas for a new post every day.   Some days,  that was tough.  Gradually,  though,  I learned that a post idea can come from anywhere – someone I follow on social media,  a discussion with a co-worker,  looking back through older posts,  something I read,  something I watched,  something a competitor said.  Anything could be fodder for a post,  I just had to figure out how to frame it to make it applicable to the subjects of our blogs.

I had time,  if I made time – Anyone who has any part in managing or running a company knows that there are always more things to do than there are hours in which to do them.    The things that get done most often are the things you consider priorities.  Prior to the month of blog posts,  blogging had slipped on the priority list,  since there were always other demands on my time.  In July,  I made blogging a priority and rearranged some other things on my schedule to make it happen.  Sometimes that meant I wrote a paragraph a day until I got a post done.  Sometimes it meant I wrote several posts when I had a spare few hours.  I won’t say it was always easy,  because it wasn’t,  but the time was there,  if I made blogging a priority.

There are no old subjects,  only old posts – I’ve been writing about machine embroidery since 2007,  and about sublimation since 2010.  That’s a lot of informative posts with helpful tips and thoughts that are now several years old.  Looking back through the blogs allowed me to reprise subjects that were still relevant,  but had last been touched on in a post several years ago.   It’s a good reminder that old content can often be repurposed and reintroduced to an audience that may not have seen it before.

Not every post will be a home run, and that’s o.k. – A lot of us,  I think,  get focused on making things perfect,  and so we tinker and tweak and do everything but actually put the content out there and let people see it.  We got so focused on what we don’t like about something,  we forget to notice all the stuff that’s really good.  Yes,  I have certain standards for my work.   Yes,  I always want it to be the best it can be.  Yes,  sometimes my best isn’t as good as I’d like it to be and yes,  that’s o.k.   Sometimes the important thing is putting your work out there,  despite what you see as glaring mistakes, or clear imperfections.  The likelihood is that what you see as huge, blaring problems most people won’t even notice,  and that they’ll still benefit from interacting with your work.

In the end, my blogging experiment did seem to have an impact.  We had increased readership,  both of current posts and old posts.   We had new subscribers to the blogs.  Writing every day reminded me that writing is what I do, and I needed to do it more often.   While I don’t expect to,  or really want to continue writing a post a day,  I will be blogging more frequently.  I hope you’ll be reading when I do.

Marketing Monday: Gaining Attention on Social Media

Attention.   We like it most of the time.  Standing in front of a cheering crowd,  spending time with a significant other,  having someone comment on something you created,  all those things feel nice and usually make us happy.   The times we don’t like attention are the times when we feel like we’ve done something stupid.  Tripping over nothing and falling on our faces.  Tweeting at 2 a.m. after a few too many drinks and saying something you would never say at noon when you were alert and sober.

When you run a business,  attention is key,  if people don’t know who you are and what you have to offer,  they won’t be inspired to pay you money,  which means your business may not be in business for long.   The question is,  how do you gain that attention,  in a positive way,  and how do you keep people’s eyes on your feeds once they know you exist?  We have some thoughts.

First,  as always,  you need to know who it is you want attention from, and where those people are online.   Essentially,  you need to find your audience,  both in terms of the actual people you hope to make connections with,  and the places on the Internet those sorts of people go.   Keep in mind that no business has a customer base of everyone,  even though some might seem like they do.  Narrowing your focus and really understanding your customer base will help you be in the right place at the right time talking to the right people.

Second, once you know to who and where you’ll be talking,  you need to figure out what you’ll be talking about.   Create a content plan,  which doesn’t have to be detailed,  but does have to contain the highlights of the message you want to get across.   Sometimes this plan will be as simple as a bunch of bullet points,  other times it can go for pages and have detailed strategy notes.  The main thing is that you have some sort of list of topics to cover.

Third,  let customers behind the curtain so they can get to know a little bit about you.   Numerous studies show that people are more likely to buy from business they trust.   Giving your potential customers glimpses into the daily life of the business,  and sharing funny or sweet things that happen allows them to get a better picture of who you, and by extension your business,  are.

Finally,  and most important,  create good content.  If your feed is a litany of “buy my stuff, buy my stuff”,  people will get bored and turn their attention elsewhere.  Part of developing a content plan is figuring out what your ideal customers will want to hear and see from the businesses where they spend money.   Make sure your content is interesting,  both visually and in what it says.  Share content that helps your potential customers understand your products and how they can use them to make their lives better.  Offer meaningful and useful information,  not just memes or sales messages.

The main thing to remember is this:  if you consistently,  day in and day out, even when it seems like no one is listening,  create content that is worthy of attention,  you will be noticed.  The only way to gain the kind of attention you want and to hold that attention is be there day after day,  providing useful and interesting information and insight.

Trendy Thursday – 5 Fashion Trends We Really Wish Would Disappear

Fashion,  a few people don’t care about it at all,  some people are absolute slaves to it,  and most are probably somewhere in the middle.   They want to be fashionable,  but aren’t dedicating huge portions of their lives to this quest.  Fashion is fun,  but it can also be a problem for decorators,  particularly when they’re asked to decorate something that’s trendy,  but not easy to embellish.  I’m sure you all have your own lists of fashion trends you’d be happy to never see again,  but today I thought it would be fun to share ours.

Trend 1:  Performance Wear – Yes,  you’re an athlete.  Yes,  you’ve worked hard to get your body in shape and this type of clothing shows that off.   Yes,  performance wear can have moisture wicking capabilities and other traits that make it great for wearing when you’re exerting yourself.  What performance wear doesn’t have is the qualities that make it easy to decorate.  It’s stretchy and hard to hoop which makes embroidery difficult.   It’s thin and often made of polyester or a poly blend,  which can make it unsuitable for screen printing and and decoration techniques involving heat.  Performance wear is pretty much a combo platter of decoration difficulty.

Trend 2: Excessively Distressed Denim – We’ve probably all seen the photos of the pair of jeans for sale that were primarily seams and nothing else,  which is an extreme case.  Still, excessively distressed denim pretty much showcases what decoration was designed to cover up,  which is holes in the garment.   Holes worn into a pair of jeans through wear and time is one thing.   Holes that are pre-made before the garment is even bought or worn is quite another.

Trend 3:  Rompers – Guys may not even know what these are,  since the last time they probably wore one was when they were infants.  Women,  however,  may be quite familiar with the romper,  which is basically a jumpsuit where the legs stop at shorts level.   They’re most likely not that hard to decorate,  honestly,  they’re just not really a good look for any grown-up person to wear,  and that’s why they made the list.  (Note:  Apparently there are rompers for men – which is just wrong on so many levels.  This trend definitely needs to die!)

Trend 4:  Logos On Everything – Yes, putting logos on shirts or jackets or bags can be the life blood of a decoration business,  and having one logo on something isn’t committing a fashion faux pas.   It’s when there are multiple logos everywhere, on every piece of clothing or accessory,  that it becomes too much.  Mixing logos isn’t the greatest fashion homerun either.   Logos are like spices,  a little adds some interest.  Too much,  and you’re turning red and reaching desperately for something to cleanse your palate.

Trend 5:  Cold Shoulder Tops – Another trend that guys may not be as familiar with but something that seems to be showing up everywhere from formalwear to t-shirts.   Basically,  a cold shoulder top is one that has cutouts that leave the shoulder bare.   This style interferes with monogram or logo placement and just isn’t really a look that works for most people.

So,  those are the fashion trends we’d like to see ended,  but I’m sure there are many that we left off the list.  What’s your biggest fashion pet peeve as a decorator?  Leave a comment and let us know what fashion trend you really dislike.

Why Having a Consistent Thread Matters

I’d guess everyone who works with thread in any fashion has their likes and dislikes when it comes to thread brands.   When you’re just starting out,  it’s hard to know which brand will serve you well and meet your needs the best. Some people buy thread based on what came with their machine.  Other embroiderers work more with colors they need to match rather than thread brands they like.  Certainly there are those who buy based on price, and the cheaper price always seems to win.  One thing that isn’t often considered,  but should be,  is how consistent the thread is.

A consistent thread is one that retains the same properties over time.  The hues of the dyes used to color the thread don’t change.  The tensile strength of the thread remains constant.  The cost of the thread stays reasonably steady.  The quality of the thread doesn’t vary from lot to lot.   What you got when you used the thread for the first time should,  if the thread is consistent,  be the same as what you get when you use the thread for the thirty-first time.  Being consistent is important for thread for several reasons.

Reason 1: Colors don’t change –  Anyone who’s matched a color for a customer knows the importance of color consistency.  Once you find the perfect color to match their logo or graphic,  you need that color to match every time you do an order.  Customers,  as we all know,  can be very picky about color matching.  The last thing you need is a thread color that changes a bit with every dye lot.  A consistent thread will maintain color integrity across dye lots.  The dye recipe will be precise and will be precisely followed.

Reason 2: Strength and durability – An inconsistent thread will have weak spots,  areas where the fibers are uneven or aren’t as thick.  It won’t hold tension as well and may be more prone to thread breaks.   A consistent thread, on the other hand,  will be even, without weak spots.   It will sew smoothly and thread breaks will be limited, and more likely due to design issues than the quality of the thread.  Consistent thread also generally causes far fewer thread breaks,  which results in much less downtime for production.

Reason 3:  Price – Consistent thread is unlikely to be the least expensive thread on the block,  but the quality will be worth paying a slightly higher price.  It’s also unlikely that the prices for a consistent thread will fluctuate much,  since the manufacturer will have sourced quality supplies and ensured their supply chain is secure.  While the price may be adjusted to reflect inflation or changes in the economy,  overall the price should stay pretty steady.

Reason 4:  Sew-out –  A consistent thread will sew out the same every time you sew a design.   It won’t sew perfectly one time and become a knotted mess the next. A thread you can rely on is one that can be predicted,  one that you know will create embroidery that will satisfy your customers.   If you constantly have to adjust tensions or mess with the machine to get the same results as a prior sew-out,  you’re losing time and certainly adding to your stress level.

In the end,  a consistent thread is one that performs the job for you best over the long term.   Yes,  a thread that stays consistent probably won’t be the cheapest option,  but a higher price will be more than justified by the faster production,  stable color and pain free sew-outs.

Featured Friday – Information, Inspiration, Instruction

Since it is Friday,  it seemed like it would be fun to do another Featured Friday post.   One thing I do want to mention,  before I spotlight other people’s work,  is the fact that we’ve been posting a blog post a day, every day during the work week,  here at Threaducate or at our sister blog, SubliStuff. We’ve worked to create a lot of great content,  and it’s definitely worth your time to go read.

That said,  on to what I think are the posts you should be reading this week.

First up,  although they’re on the Threaducate blog,  these posts,  Finding the Right Machine for You, Part 1 and Part 2 were written by Katie Wubben of Trouble Me Knot Embroidery.  Katie runs a screen print shop,  an embroidery shop,  lectures at the DAX Shows and sells Melco embroidery machines.  She knows her stuff and these posts show that.  She’s definitely a great guide if you’re looking to purchase a machine.

Second in the batting order is a post from Creative Machine Embroidery Magazine,  about how to use metallic embroidery thread.  I’m honestly not sure I agree with all their tips, and some I’ve never heard before (put thread in the freezer before embroidering) but I think there’s enough here that could be useful to include it in this round-up.   Also,  keep in mind that the quality of the metallic thread can matter greatly.   The Iris Metallic Thread that EnMart carries has been known to turn metallic thread haters into people who sew with metallic thread regularly.  It’s just that good!

Third in the rotation is a post from Marshall Atkinson of Atkinson Consulting called “Accountability is Binary“.  Honestly,  I’d love this post just for the name,  but what it says is marvelous too.  The post basically leads you through setting up procedures for your shop and how to get the best out of any department.  As the title implies,  there is a correct way and a wrong way to do things.  This post tells you how to set up procedures that will help your people do the correct thing.

Fourth at bat is a post I think I might have shared in a previous round-up,  but it’s such a useful post I want to share it again.   This post from Erich Campbell deals with embroidery on substrates that have a texture,  towels,  fleece, that sort of thing.  There is an art to doing embroidery on these types of substrates well,  and Erich’s tips will help you master that art.  If you want to go for the graduate course in taming textures,  you can also read Part 2 of this series.

Finally,  a post about ways,  9 ways specifically,  to promote your website.  Since almost every company has a website these days,  this is useful information.  Not sure I agree with all of their tips,  but they not only provide the tip,  they provide action items to help you implement the tip.   Definitely a good read for those who are looking to bring more visitors to their website.